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Default in Today's Advanced Economies; Unnecessary, Undesirable, and Unlikely

Author

Listed:
  • Carlo Cottarelli
  • Paolo Mauro
  • Lorenzo Forni
  • Jan Gottschalk

Abstract

This note summarizes the main arguments put forward by some market commentators who argue that default is inevitable, and presents a rebuttal for each argument in turn. Their main arguments focus on the size of the adjustment and continued market concerns reflected in government bond spreads. The essence of our reasoning is that the challenge stems mainly from the advanced economies’ large primary deficits. Thus, by lowering the interest bill while triggering the need to move to primary balance or a small primary surplus, default would not significantly reduce the need for major fiscal adjustment. In contrast, the emerging economies that defaulted in recent decades did so primarily as a result of high debt servicing costs, often in the context of major external shocks. We conclude that default would be ineffective and undesirable in today’s advanced economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Cottarelli & Paolo Mauro & Lorenzo Forni & Jan Gottschalk, 2010. "Default in Today's Advanced Economies; Unnecessary, Undesirable, and Unlikely," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/12, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfspn:2010/12
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Martin Weder, 2015. "Fiscal Adjustments and the Probability of Sovereign Default," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 81-110, February.
    2. Karatas, B., 2014. "Financial crisis and monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 41e463f0-e122-4379-8db5-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Mai Dao & Prakash Loungani, 2010. "The Human Cost of Recessions; Assessing It, Reducing It," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/17, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Kopf, Christian, 2011. "Restoring financial stability in the euro area," CEPS Papers 4292, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    5. Blot, Christophe & Ducoudré, Bruno & Timbeau, Xavier, 2016. "Sovereign debt spread and default in a model with self-fulfilling prophecies and asymmetric information," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 281-299.
    6. Michel Aglietta & Xavier Ragot, 2015. "Érosion du tissu productif en France. Causes et remèdes," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(6), pages 95-150.
    7. Paniagua, Jordi & Sapena, Juan & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2017. "Sovereign debt spreads in EMU: The time-varying role of fundamentals and market distrust," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 187-206.
    8. Seitz, Franz & Jost, Thomas, 2012. "The role of the IMF in the European debt crisis," Weidener Diskussionspapiere 32, University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden (OTH).
    9. Eichler, Stefan & Hofmann, Michael, 2013. "Sovereign default risk and decentralization: Evidence for emerging markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 113-134.
    10. Michel Aglietta & Xavier Ragot, 2015. "Érosion du tissu productif en France. Causes et remèdes," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(6), pages 95-150.
    11. Gros, Daniel & Alcidi, Cinzia, 2011. "Adjustment Difficulties and Debt Overhangs in the Eurozone Periphery," CEPS Papers 5525, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    12. Gabriel A. Giménez-Roche, 2011. "Institutional Illusion and Financial Entrepreneurship in the European Debt Scheme," Chapters, in: David Howden (ed.), Institutions in Crisis, chapter 1, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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